Sophie's Calorie Counting Success Story

Calorie Counting helped new mum Sophie lose weight. Read how many calories she needed to lose over 3½ stone.

Sophie's Calorie Counting Success Story

Sophie, Age 31, Height 5ft 5in
Start Weight 14st 4½lb
Current Weight 10st 10lb
Goal Weight 10st 10lb
Weight Lost 3st 8½lb
Working to Rate of Loss 1lb per week

About Sophie

A typical day involves lots of running around after my toddler son Massimo, he really likes to play hide and seek.

We have chosen to live in the centre of town which means we sold the car and walk everywhere. On average I walk a collective of 60 minutes per day, doing everyday things like going to the supermarket, paying bills and so on.

A couple times per week we take Massimo to the beach, especially during the hot months, which involves lots of running after Massimo and teaching him to swim.

Married for 11 years now, we have one amazing little boy 15 months old. My husband is not a health conscious person at all.

"This does mean there are always high calorie foods in the house, and he loves his takeaways."

For some reason his weight never seems to change that much, typical! This definitely contributed to my weight gain after marrying.

So this was something I had to learn to deal with in order to get serious about losing weight. I found having my own treats that I planned from day to day means I don’t feel like I am missing out and my husband knows not to eat those!  

I learned to cook the same food but healthier; there is no way I would of stuck at this had I been cooking different meals for me from the rest of the family.

Also portion awareness (as I like to call it) is another key factor. If Tama fancied burger & chips for example this is how Tama's would be:

  • 3 burgers including buns & cheese & large portion of chips.

Mine:

  • One burger & small bun with lots of onion, 100g of home made oven baked chips & large salad.

The difference in calories is massive and I still was having a treat & eating with my husband. Finding solutions like this made losing weight realistic, practical & sustainable.

What diets have you tried in the past?

Ok so I have tried.....

For some strange reason it never occurred to me to try calorie counting.

I think this is because whenever you hear people talking about calorie counting they roll their eyes. I can’t understand this.

"I feel like all these other diets are dumbed down calorie controlling but you’re not in complete control."

When inevitably you slip ‘off the wagon’ you don’t know how to fix it because all these diets rely on you being 100% to plan all the time – not real life!

So when you do ‘slip up’ its easy to have the all or nothing mentality and give up. I found I became despondent with all these kind of plans as they, in my opinion, are not realistic.

Knowledge of the values of your foods and the difference being active makes is the key.

Tell us how your weight has affected you

Sophie after her 3½ stone weight loss
  Start Now
Weight 14st 4½lb 10st 10lb
BMI 32.8 24.9
Body Fat 38.2% 24.7%
Chest 46in 38in
Waist 36in 28in
Hips 45.5in 37in
Dress Size 16-18 10-12

I didn’t realise until I lost the weight how much I lived behind my size and how much losing it would affect me for the good.

The greatest reward that has come out of losing, is a feeling of achievement which has given an answer to my own self doubt.

"I have proven to myself I can take control of my life and I have it in me to succeed at what I set my mind to."

To a certain extent I had written myself off as a ‘happy big girl’ and ‘that’s just the way I am, I love my food!’ In part this was a defensive response to how some people had put me in that category.

But whether they were big as well or not, every time someone said something like ‘Sophie won’t say no to cake’ albeit trying to be funny, and I would most likely play up to the role and pretend to eat the lot or something, I still felt  uneasy, kind of angry with myself (and a bit irritated at them)

"It is true that I do enjoy food but I now have a healthy, balanced understanding of what foods I should eat lots of, and what foods I should eat little of etc."

I have better balance in my life now. Losing weight has had a positive effect on so many aspects of my life. With this feeling of self achievement has come self confidence and reassurance.

I deal with relationships better, I have more energy for my son, I have more patience with my husband and so on. My emotions are more balanced.

Others response has been mixed. Some people have surprised me. In odd ways some people seem unnerved by my new size.

I think that they think I will be a different person. To some extent that is true but I truly believe only for the better.

At times I think people who have also been bigger at the same time as you, feel uneasy when you finally lose it. Maybe this is because it makes them feel like they should be doing something about it!? Safety in numbers or something like that, maybe?

But luckily I have lots of very encouraging friends and family around me.

If anyone (maybe unintentionally, maybe not) said something discouraging, I would take that comment and turn it into positive motivation, like ‘I’ll show you Missy’ and this would spur me on when I was exercising.

Losing weight has been the catalyst for change, in positive ways, in many aspects of my life.

I am studying for a diploma, full time active Mum to my son, housewife, helping my husband with his business, running a local free weight loss support group (for moral support, not diet advice) which so far as a group has seen its members lose a collective 81 kilos, involved in voluntary work and so on.

I seriously would not have the energy for half this before.

What has been your main motivation to lose weight?

I had wanted to lose weight ever since I first gained coming up for 10 years ago.

But the main reason I really committed myself this time came when my son started walking at 8.5 months.

Due to continued breast infections and complications from emergency c-section, I didn’t leave the house much for the first few months after Massimo was born, just staying at home poddling about breast feeding and eating.

My weight ballooned and I crept up to my biggest ever. Still I hadn’t really noticed until Massimo started walking and within few weeks it was clear Massimo was going to be on the go all the time.

Then out one day, I saw a young Mum (also over weight) who had two children.

Whilst walking along with her youngest in her arms and the other walking beside her, the little girl walking fell over. She wasn’t seriously hurt but still was upset and wanted a hug/pick up from Mum.

The Mum looked at her little girl and for a moment I saw an expression I recognized. It was a look of exhaustion.

She offered her little girl comforting words and encouraged her to pick herself up but didn’t bend down to comfort her. She clearly just didn’t have energy.

"That was it! I recognized that expression because I experienced similar lethargy when trying to keep up with my son."

I realised how unfair that was on him and I didn’t want him to have a bad example.

So my son was my main, initial motivation. However there has also developed other motivating factors along the way. The rewards for me personally (more confidence a sense of achievement etc) and also people observing my progress have also become motivating factors.

Which tools and resources do you use regularly on WLR? Which tools do you find invaluable?

Can’t live without food diary & exercise diary.

I love the way WLR present the calories from exercise. These are like calories earned instead of burned. This is so much more motivating to do exercise.

Other brilliant aspects to WLR are the help team & the forum. I have never not had a question answered quickly and friendly.

Even if I don’t need to post on the forum; reading through other peoples honest experiences is really comforting. 

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Have you used any products/fitness equipment that has helped you with your goals?

Good digital kitchen scales & good walking shoes.

I can honestly say that’s it. Everything else I needed to know came from WLR

Why do you think WLR has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?

WLR has educated me.

It has shown me how to eat a balanced diet.

It’s true what the Doctors will tell you ‘eat everything in moderation’, but without understanding the energy values in different foods, what’s moderation!?

"Some people seem to have a natural sense of this but for me however this isn’t the case."

For example what's a moderate portion of chocolate cake? Is it the same as a moderate jacket potato? This might sounds silly to some, but for me seeing calories in different foods really educated me.

Then understanding that getting my body active means I can enjoy my food a little more got me off my sofa. Then after a while I got a taste for keeping active any way.  

As long as I can afford it, I plan to remain a member of WLR

Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?

After the first stone or so I found myself struggling. At this point for me personally I started a group for people locally for people trying to slim to just share support.

This became popular in a small place with little in this regard and people became very interested in my progress this really spurred me on. Seeing others encouraged by my results encouraged me to keep going.

I have also experienced a couple of plateaus. I read up, asked WLR any questions I had. Both times I found I needed to shake things up a bit.

Maybe by reviewing my calorie allowance or by upping my activity. And then I practiced patience which I feel is a must for successful slimming.

Keeping motivated? Thinking about my son’s future.

Since losing weight can you give some examples of how your life has changed?

I feel like my life has begun. Before I felt ill, tired all the time.

"Now I look forward to the day ahead and what activity lies ahead."

All kinds of changes have taken place. I no longer look for easiest route but I enjoy every bit of the journey!

Exercise routines adopted?

I aim to walk as part of my day at least 60 mins everyday.

Even if this is split between various tasks so I do 10 mins here and 20 mins there I count everything and it all adds up.

Then whenever the opportunity arises for other exercise I take it. Things like power walking, zumba even ice skating!

What do you love about your body now?

I have a small bum for the first time in my life! (Well small for me) And my breasts have gone down to a respectable size; so finally I have conversations with men where they look at my face!

It was always a dream of mine to wear strapless tops and dresses.

Prior to losing the weight there was not a bra available to do this for me (I was a 34J) now I can wear strapless dresses whenever I like!

Sophie’s Tips

There are so many useful tips but the most important for me is Patience and Enjoy the Journey!

Realistically is takes time to lose weight that crept on. The way I saw it was - I have been this size for a while. 

For one reason or another I allowed it to creep on and somehow for a long time, I lived with it as I got bigger or stayed that size.

If I coped with it when I wasn’t losing any weight, surely I can deal with being big as I lose the weight!?>

"The reason this was important for me to accept? For me to stick at a weight loss plan, I had to still enjoy my food day to day."

For me this meant losing at a rate of 1lb per week rather than 2lb per week, which day to day meant I could eat those few extra calories. This in turn meant I didn’t really feel like I was dieting, which in turn meant I stuck to it!

So this is where 'Enjoy the Journey' comes in.

One aspect was the rate at which I lost in relation to my daily calories i.e. I worked out how I could continue to enjoy my food but also I took pride in myself for the good days.

 A day could be good for many different reasons.

Maybe I stuck to my calorie allowance or I earned extra calories from being more active or I noticed I wasn’t feeling as bloated.

"I kept a mental note of all these improvements and secretly congratulated myself for every little achievement."

This gave me daily focus but also stopped me overly thinking about my ultimate goal.

Although it’s good to have a target, smaller daily personal improvements or goals are less over whelming and achievable every day. Then one day, almost all of a sudden, I started looking dramatically different.

Well at least that’s what worked for me.

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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